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Immigration, economic security and fairness: Engaging with public concerns

  • Date(s)
    1 February 2011
  • Time
    14:00 - 17:30
  • Location
    Westminster
Immigration, economic security and fairness: Engaging with public concerns

Immigration has become an increasingly important issue for publics in many European countries. According to research by Lauren McLaren of the University of Nottingham, concern about immigration plays a part in eroding trust in mainstream politics and political parties.

An important element of public concern is the perception of immigrants taking jobs, undercutting wages and undermining labour protections. Equally, there is a prevalent sentiment that immigrants receive more from the state than they contribute and override other people’s entitlement to public services, including housing.

This seminar explores these perceptions and assesses them against the growing body of empirical evidence on immigration’s economic impacts. It will ask what policy interventions can address any negative or uneven impacts, as well as considering how to deal with negative perceptions and the prevalent sense of unfairness among considerable numbers of voters.

The event forms part of Policy Network’s research initiative on immigration and political trust, which aims to develop proposals that will help politicians build public confidence in immigration policy. It follows on from a first seminar on building confidence in the admissions system and will be followed by a third seminar exploring immigration and political trust in relation to questions of identity and community.

British jobs for British workers?  

Greg Thomson believes UK government’s immigration cap seeks to deal with public concerns but makes little economic sense compared with active labour market policies to train the resident workforce and support the lowest paid.

The economic miracle in the immigration drama

Ewald Engelen writes that While the view predominates that migration has cost Dutch society more than it contributes and that the Netherlands  should close its borders to newcomers, demographic trends point in the opposite direction.

Immigration: an economic threat?  

Lauren McLarenLauren McLaren thinks anti-immigrant sentiment is driven by identity and culture-based insecurities, yet such concerns can only be alleviated by narrowing economic inequalities.

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